Analysis of Steve Knight Defeat In CA25




By Greg Aprahamian

After the defeat of  Republican incumbent Rep. Steve Knight from CA25, I think it’s important to do some analysis of voting trends and comparison between other races in the district to compare and contrast and see if we can learn anything.  

Judging from the voter data in CA25 which  mostly comprises the cities of Simi Valley, Santa Clarita and Palmdale, Lancaster.  We can see that the district has grown in population and in a non presidential election year the total number of voters went from 114,072 to 163,207 adding 49,135 voters in four years.  We can also see that both the number of Republican and Democrat voters is increasing in CA25, but the number of Democrats is increasing faster.

In contrast to the House race,  the next most noteworthy political battle in the district this year was the efforts of two of its largest cities to join a court challenge against SB54, a law that gives sanctuary to illegal aliens in California,  We see that in Santa Clarita all the incumbent Council members that voted to support the court challenge against SB54, were all re elected by strong margins. In Simi Valley which also unanimously joined the court challenge against SB54, incumbents that voted to challenge SB54 were also re elected or elected to a higher office.

In other words, challenging sanctuary for illegal aliens proved to be very popular in the major cities in CA25, and those officials were rewarded for their actions on election day.

Rep. Steve Knight chose a different course in dealing with the district that is growing in population and trending blue.  Although initially he represented himself as opposed to amnesty, Knight increasingly become more open and supportive of a DACA or Dream act amnesty, and six months before re election time he joined a major two-month-long Congressional amnesty battle  using what is known as a discharge petition to force a very unpopular vote with fellow Republicans to legalize DACA and Dream Act eligible illegal aliens.

This strategy proved unsuccessful in gaining him any new Democrat voters in the district, and may have alienated Republican voters that are highly attentive to issues surrounding illegal immigration. Ultimately the amnesty discharge petition effort failed legislatively, and his campaign for reelection failed a short time afterwards.

Digging a little deeper into the discharge petition that Knight joined,  I researched the outcome of the 23 Republican members that signed on. 11 won re election, 7 were defeated by a Democrat challenger and 5 retired.  Of the five that retired 4 of the seats were then lost to Democrat challengers( all of them women). Six months after the amnesty discharge petition  effort was launched almost half of those Republican representatives were replaced by Democrats.

Jeff Denham the CA Republican who was the ringleader on the amnesty effort kept his seat, by only +1,287  votes. A few of the other discharge petition signatories kept their seats with similar numbers.

It seems that many of the Republican members who joined the discharge petition effort had one thing in common, they represent districts that are trending blue, and in the case of Steve Knight and Jeff Denham have substantial Hispanic populations. Perhaps these 23 Republican Representatives joined on to the discharge petition as a way to attract Democrat and Hispanic voters, but in the end it didn’t attract Democrat or Hispanic voters that they hoped for, and as I previously mentioned it probably  had a negative impact on reliable Republican voters that are highly attentive to issues surrounding illegal immigration.

As a solution or role model for Republican Reps. in districts  that are trending blue, or have a high Hispanic population, I truly believe that actions like the ones that the Santa Clarita and Simi Valley city council’s took to strengthen public safety and challenge sanctuary law shows itself to be a positive and successful way for Republican leaders to attract voters.  

Same district – All Republican Reps, one chose amnesty the others chose public safety challenging sanctuary law and look which ones were successful.

On a personal note I would like to wish Rep. Knight and his family all the best in their future endeavors. We had our differences on illegal immigration, and foreign worker visas, but aside from that it was always reassuring to have a Republican represent our district, and I thank him for his work and his efforts on many other issues.

Below are historical voting data on House races in CA25, ranging from the past six years to help you gauge voting trends.

Candidate: Vote total Percentage Difference Number of voters

Greg Aprahamian is a Santa Clarita activist.

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